Queensland’s top teachers named
QUEENSLAND'S most exceptional teachers have been recognised for their standout work in this year's Queensland College of Teachers TEACHX Awards.
From utilising surf training and YouTube language lessons, to mindfulness and therapy dogs, 30 teachers from across the state have been highlighted for the profound impact they are making on their school communities, and to the lives of their students.
The prestigious annual awards, sponsored by The Courier-Mail, are the only state government awards to recognise teachers from all school sectors, with a broad range of categories covering innovation, beginning teachers, community contribution and excellence.
This year a record 243 nominations were received across six categories.
Elanora State High School's Matthew Barber was among five finalists named in the Outstanding Contribution to School Community category.
The school's CooeeGC program led by Mr Barber allows senior students to complete their Queensland Certificate of Education while also giving them the flexibility to begin a school-based traineeship.
Uniquely surfing is also a key element, with students taking to the ocean together under the watch of a professional coach for about six hours of training each week.
Mr Barber said the program gives kids a "real-world" experience, and helps teach them responsibility.
"The kids start their morning with surf training, and they're usually there by 6am at the latest," he said.
"If they're learning to get up early to do their surf training, then they're a good chance to get up early to be at a job.Plus a portion of their apprenticeship or traineeship pay goes towards their surf coaching, so it's teaching them about budgeting."
Mr Barber said part of the program was also focused on supporting kids to form relationships with members of the community, such as potential employers, as well as helping to equip them with skills which would boost their ability to thrive in the workforce.
"When kids are in a school environment, kids are very school-like in their behaviour," he said.
"It's not necessarily how they would behave in a sporting environment or a work environment.
"Essentially by operating this way you eliminate things like bullying or silly kid behaviour which can go on in the school yard - you don't really get those issues.
"It's like a transition from school to the real world, and it makes the kids more worldly."
Other finalists in the same category include Wisdom College's Canan Coskun, Burpengary State Secondary College's Amber-Lee Donahoo, Maroochydore State High School's Tamika Megawatt and Marsden State High School's Mitchell Robertson.
Mr Roberston was one of four finalists from Marsden State High School - the only school to have more than one nominee - including school principal Andrew Peach who was named in the Excellent Leadership in Teaching and Learning Award category.
QCT board chair Wendy Patton said the TEACHX Awards showcase the exceptional work of teachers across all subjects and year levels, across Queensland.
"Teaching is complex and challenging, as well as incredibly rewarding, and it is impossible not to be inspired by the work of these finalists," Emeritus Professor Patton said. "I wish to congratulate all the finalists on the extraordinary differences they have made in their students' lives - it is a privilege to be able to highlight and share their work. I'd also like to congratulate the hundreds of teachers who were nominated for the awards for their teaching excellence."
Excellence in Beginning to Teach Award
Daniel Chen, Saint Stephen's College
Kirra Gold, Marsden State High School
Laura Loucks, Tagai State College - Badu Island Campus
Gabrielle Milne, Nursery Road State Special School
Susanne Sprungala, Kirwan State High School
Excellence in Teaching Award
Ruth MacLean, Indooroopilly State High School
Catherine Nicholson, Chancellor State College
Meagan Pearse, Anglican Church Grammar School
Michelle Ragen, Brisbane Grammar School
Carla Trott, St Aidan's Anglican Girls' School
Innovation in Teaching Award
Townsville State High School
Wendy Goldston, Frenchville State School
Jennifer Irving, Nambour Special School
Thomas Patterson, Marsden State High School
Belinda Rule, C&K Eimeo Road Community Kindergarten
Excellent Leadership in Teaching and Learning Award
Linda Eager, Kelvin Grove State College
Patrick Egan, Emmaus College Rockhampton
Lynne Hardy, Mackay State High School
Andrew Peach, Marsden State High School
Tamara Sullivan, Ormiston College
Outstanding Contribution to School Community Award
Matthew Barber, Elanora State High School
Canan Coskun, Wisdom College
Amber-Lee Donahoo, Burpengary State Secondary College
Tamika Megawatt, Maroochydore State High School
Mitchell Robertson, Marsden State High School
The Courier-Mail Outstanding Contribution to Teaching Award
Kirsti Ellerton, Brisbane School of Distance Education
Catherine Heiner, Sheldon College
Norah Parsons, Moura State High School
Lynne Schlyder, Somerville House
Michael Senior, Ambrose Treacy College